Kelly: Kaepernick 'on track' to play on Friday


SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Francisco 49ers coach Chip Kelly isn’t much for hypotheticals so he wouldn’t commit to quarterback Colin Kaepernick returning to the mix Friday night against Green Bay.

But Kelly did offer at least a small update Wednesday on Kaepernick’s progress in his return from a sore shoulder, saying the quarterback has been full-go in practice, back to splitting the reps with Blaine Gabbert in practice all week and is headed toward his preseason debut barring a setback.

“He’s on track and we’re excited and we’re hopeful he will be ready to go,” Kelly said. “But I’m not going to put the cart before the horse. We have a system. When we get to Friday, we’ll know exactly from [head athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson] who’s up and who’s down.”

He wouldn’t say whether Kaepernick would start or even whether he would get reps with the first-team offense.

Kelly went on to say that if Kaepernick is active on Friday night, he will play in the team’s third game.

Before Kaepernick began dealing with the sore shoulder, Kelly had said that he and Gabbert would both get time with the first-team offense in preseason games. Kelly wouldn’t commit to that plan on Wednesday but since they are splitting reps in practice, it’s possible they’d follow a similar plan in the game.

In his first week back to full practice since Aug. 10, Kaepernick has not been on a “pitch count,” according to Kelly. In terms of rust, Kelly acknowledged there has been some but otherwise Kaepernick has been on top of things.

“He’s been sharp with all the things mentally,” Kelly said. “When you take some time off from the physical, there may be a ball that was behind from a timing standpoint, but there’s no indecision where he doesn’t know where he’s going.”

Gabbert has started both preseason games to this point, going 10-of-19 for 132 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.

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